Groupon Extends Daily Deal to B-to-B
Include packages for business intelligence, cloud computing.
This article first appears on FOLIO: sister site minonline.
Business owners, have we got a deal for you! That daily pitch from new e-commerce phenoms like Groupon and LivingSocial may be coming to the b2b side of publishing. In fact the industry leader in deep discount deals, Groupon, just started targeting its business users with something more than cut-rate massages and discount picture framing. IT consulting firm Ajilitee recently launched a Groupon deal for $25,000 worth of business intelligence and cloud computing services for the bargain basement price of $12,500. According to a report at Mediapost, Groupon’s offer was so successful that it is opening its self-service arm, Groupon Stores, to business services.
The Groupon Stores site lets any business apply to offer Groupon deals. These offers typically call for a deep 40 percent to 50 percent discount off of the usual pricing on an item or service. The kicker is that Groupon then gets 50 percent of the revenue collected for the deal. Many consumer-side partners of the daily deal merchants consider these models loss-leader customer acquisition tools. According to Groupon, it will use targeting tools to find the members who are most receptive to b2b offers.
The entrance of the daily deal goliaths into b2b is of some consequence to traditional b2b publishers. The daily deal model has proven enormously effective in unlocking previously inaccessible local merchant marketing budgets because they deliver paying customers. It is a kind of customer acquisition, lead-gen program that appeals to the sensibilities of b2b marketers. A number of consumer-side publishers have partnered with buying clubs and daily deal providers like Gilt and others, and some publishers like TheKnot have explored buying club models of their own. Daily Deal providers like Tippr and Group Commerce are offering white label services to Web publishers so that anyone with an audience can create daily deal products. This week, NYTimes.com announced plans for a deals site called TimesLimited.
The daily deal has emerged as a style of marketing that some brands see challenging or replacing ad budgets with performance-oriented programs. The model represents one more place to which marketing budgets can flow away from traditional brand advertising as the media landscape continues to fragment.
The enterprise services company behind this experiment, Ajilitee, acknowledges that the daily deal model represents new ways in which all buyers and sellers are coming together. The chief marketing officer for the company, Diann Biderback, writes on the company blog: "We acknowledge this is an unusual go-to-market strategy for IT consulting services. In fact, to our knowledge, we’re the first enterprise consulting firm to try it. Yet, we’re intrigued by the way companies like Groupon and Living Social are changing the buy-sell model at the consumer level and can’t help wondering how (or when) this model could be viable for B2B. At Ajilitee, innovation is part of our mission, and as marketers, our job is to respond to trends and changing behaviors in new ways to see what’s possible. Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
There should be ample room for partnerships between daily deal providers and b2b publishers. The deal merchants are trying to find just the right audiences for b2b customers, audiences for which publishers already have those all-important email addresses.